‘general specific‘ was Ronan McCrea’s first solo exhibition in an Irish gallery. The show included a slide, works on paper and an ambitious glass sculpture commissioned by Project.
In this exhibition Ronan McCrea continued to investigate and develop the concerns which characterise his practice. These include the representation of data that is both general and specific, data that is used in the process of classification but which is also loaded with personal significance for the artist and the viewer. McCrea draws on the language of calendar time: eras, lifetimes, decades and years. With this material, he created objects and images which have the cool presence of information made visual. Simultaneously, these works are released from their function and become free to carry both collective and individual formulations of time, culture and political significance.
Following on from recent neon sculptures that spell out the decades of the second half of the twentieth century, McCrea made a new glass sculpture bearing a similar inscription but emptied of colour and light. The work was shown in relation to both drawn and cut works on paper of the artist’s father and to projected images extracted from an encyclopaedia yearbook for 1969. These images cover diverse subjects including animals, plants, cities, cars, sports personalities, demonstrations, space flight and war. In the context of the yearbook they reflect the agenda of the culture which produced them. Taken out of this context and shown in the present, these images are viewed differently both with the benefit of hindsight and in relation to the current prevailing ideology.
For much of the nineties McCrea worked outside galleries in spaces that ranged from a shopping centre (Irish Life Mall, 1992); a museum (The Pearse Museum, 1994); an airport (Terminal 1, Heathrow Airport, 1998); the street (Project off site programme, 1999) and a World Fair (Expo2000, Hanover, Germany). He has also had solo exhibitions at Glassbox (Paris, 2002); the Golden Pudle Klub (Hamburg, 2000) and has participated in a two man show with Paul O’Neill in Temple Bar Gallery (Dublin 1999). Group exhibitions include Permaculture at Project (Dublin, 2003), Greyscale/CMYK at the CCA Glasgow and Utopias at the Douglas Hyde Gallery (Dublin 1999).
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